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Boulder's Job Market

Why yes, I AM a convicted felon!

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, March 08, 1995.

The job market for men entering late youth, which is to say those just below the age of fifty, is not particularly booming in Boulder I have discovered. This is hindered further by the caveat I issue in all interviews and applications: that I am currently a convicted felon. This produces one of two reactions - a direct statement of contempt laced with some fear and much curiosity, or no reaction at all, punctuated by a non-committal uh-huh and an unrelated question, often involving my typing skills. Which, by the by, are pretty damned good.

I stored all my clothing at some friend’s house before I went to jail, and I had stuffed all my winter clothing at the bottom, and I cannot find my gloves. So while I’m walking around the city of late, depending on the day, my hands are on the receiving end of circulation clotting cold weather, the colder the day, the surer the employment agency or potential employer will ask for a demonstration of my typing skills.

This happened yesterday - right after, in fact, I volunteered my recent legal history - and I was ushered into the typing room where they plopped me down in front of a computer and punched up the typing program. You have five minutes to type out a story. Plunking away, and encouraging myself that feeling was indeed returning to my right hand, I managed to get up to a far from impressive forty-nine words a minute with some errors. Still, I stifle my impulse to whine about being cold, or even being old and rheumatic, which I am not.

Apparently, however, computers have reduced - like much else - the need for accuracy my old instructors demanded, since correction programs can be run as fast or faster than applying white-out or erasing the felon imprint from the page. Felon imprints aren’t easy to erase on paper, but in the electronic ether of a word processor, their lives are short and memory non-existent.

In any event, praise was effusive, although I’m still unsure whether or not it was because I can type or because I’ve lived as long as I have and they feel unpleasant news may trigger some sort of biologic event ending in a terminal stage, and their insurance won’t cover it. So I suppress my desire to cup my had around my ear and bellow “Huh? What’s that?” to the personnel director. Tempted, though.